The Story of Kansas

1971-1990 Timeline


The town of Wilson serves as a backdrop for the movie "Paper Moon," starring Ryan O'Neal and his daughter, Tatum.


Jan. 15 — Joseph and Julie Otero are strangled in their home at 803 N. Edgemoor along with two of their children.

May 18 — Keeper of the Plains sculpture by Blackbear Bosin is dedicated in Wichita at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers.

October — A letter from a person claiming to have killed the Oteros is left at the downtown library. He calls himself BTK, for Bind, Torture and Kill.


Aug. 11 — Michael Soles carries two rifles and a lunch pail filled with ammunition to the top floor of Wichita's 26-story Garvey building and opens fire, killing three people and wounding six.

Aug. 19 — President Gerald Ford chooses U.S. Sen. Robert Dole from Russell as his vice-presidential running mate.

Former Harvard professor Wes Jackson begins the Land Institute near Salina to experiment with sustainable agriculture.


April 11 — The crew of a DC-6 loaded with 7 1/2 tons of Colombian marijuana mistakes a highway for an abandoned airstrip near Jetmore.

Farmers threaten to strike, demanding higher prices. An American Agriculture Movement rally in Hays draws 3,500 participants for a 10-mile-long tractor parade.


Nancy Kassebaum, the daughter of former Kansas Gov. Alf Landon, becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate on her own.


After the fall of Saigon, Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian refugees begin coming to Kansas.


Wichita aircraft plants lay off thousands.

Wichita native Lynette Woodard, a four-time All-America basketball player at the University of Kansas, plays on the U.S. Olympic teams in 1980 and in 1984.


Olive Ann Beech retires as chairman of the aircraft company that bears her family's name.


A Wichita man dies of AIDS — the first such death in Kansas.


Wolf Creek Generating Station, a nuclear power plant, begins operating near Burlington.


Kansas voters approve a state-owned lottery and the sale of liquor by the drink in establishments open to the public that serve food.

Oil prices plummet, and the farm and oil crises begin to hit family farmers.


Dec. 30 — The bodies of Kelli Fager, 16, and her sister, Sherri, 9, are found in a hot tub in the Wichita family's basement. Phillip Fager, 37, is found shot to death in the living room.


April 4 — The University of Kansas team defeats Oklahoma to win the men's NCAA basketball championship.


June 10 — Wichita State University defeats Texas to win the College World Series in Omaha.

The Coleman Co. is purchased by New Yorker Ronald Perelman.


March 13 — The Hesston tornado destroys 35 homes and injures 60 people. Two people in nearby communities are killed.

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